The first merchant in the town was James Elmore. His store stood opposite the cemetery about a mile and a half north of the central part of the village, where J. R. Dennison now lives. He also kept the first inn, built the first frame house, and was the first postmaster, receiving the latter appointment from Postmaster-General Joseph Habersham in January 1801. He died April 19, 1836.
Zaccheus W. Elmore was probably the first merchant in the village. His store stood just south of the Medbury House. He traded till within some ten years of his death, Aug. 10, 1865, at the age of 85. Elias Babcock commenced trading about the same time in a store which stood opposite the bank, and continued at intervals some twenty-five years in company, the latter part of the time, with Milo Hunt, to whom he sold shortly before his death, June 10, 1833.
Joshua Pratt, originally from Connecticut, came from Spencertown, Columbia county, about 1800, and a year or two after commenced mercantile business in a little yellow building which stood on the lot next north of the bank, in which he also resided. In 1809 he erected the building now occupied by the bank, and there continued the mercantile business till 1833, about which time he was succeeded by his sons Joshua and Walstien.
Harry N. Fargo and Harvey Raymond commenced trading about 1825 or ’26. Raymond soon after sold to Lyman Rexford, and Fargo & Rexford dissolved, after some two years. Fargo then traded alone till his death, April 28, 1836. Isaac Cushman and Horatio Garrett traded here a few years from about 1835. Cushman, who was a physician, soon after opened a drug store, which he kept till his death, March 25, 1850. Garrett also subsequently engaged in business with Walter P. Sexton a year or two, and afterwards with Elisha Pratt. Samuel Wheedon, who had previously carried on the harness business, commenced mercantile business about 1833, in company with Ravillo Hatch, now of Fayetteville. Peter I. Davidson came from Herkimer county in 1816, and engaged in the jewelry business, which he continued till 1859, when he was succeeded by his son, Charles E. Davidson, who is a native of Sherburne, and still continues the business.
In 1822 Alexander Holmes and (???) Brown established the general mercantile business to which Messrs. Elsbre, Gladwin & Co., have eventually succeeded. They traded about two years under the name of Holmes & Brown.
Archibald Whitford, dealer in drugs and groceries, commenced the shoe making and harness business in 1828, in company with Jesse Burlingham, with whom he continued some five years. He then formed a copartnership with John Curtis and added tanning to the business. A few years later he started a grocery and about two years later formed a copartnership with Thomas A. Fuller in the drug and grocery business, continuing some three years.
Isaac Plumb, furniture dealer, a native of New York city, came to Chenango county in September, 1842, and engaged in the manufacture of chairs for Whitford Kenyon. In 1847 he commenced the furniture business in company with Horace Combs, whose interest he bought in 1850, since which time he has continued the business alone.
In 1852, C. L. Easton bought the drug and grocery business of H. A. Poultney, who had done business several years. In 1876 Mr. Easton admitted his son C. L. Easton, Jr., to partnership and the business has since been conducted under the name of C. L. Easton & Son.
The other merchants now doing business here are as follows: Daniel T. Hill, dealer in boots, shoes, hats, caps, furs, robes and gents’ furnishing goods, who commenced business in 1862; Charles H. Sanford, dealer in hardware and stoves, who commenced business in 1867; DeWitt Reynolds, grocer, who, in 1868, bought out his father, who commenced trading some fifty years ago; Shepard & Walker, (Jesse H. Shepard and William R. Walker,) dealers in groceries and ready-made clothing, and successors to C. L. Walker and Jesse H. Shepard, by whom the business was established Dec. 1, 1872; E. G. Whitney, general merchant, who bought out F. B. Coats in 1873; Wilbur & Newman, (J. B. Wilbur and Charles Newman,) dealers in hats, caps, boots and shoes, commenced in January, 1874; Coats & Colwell, (F. B. Coats and J. N. Colwell,) dealers in boots, shoes, hats and caps, commenced in May, 1874, Mr. Coats, having been previously engaged in business from about 1850; Mrs. I. M. Slater, milliner, bought out Mrs. Sarah Hart in 1874; W. F. Place, jeweler, commenced in December, 1875; Hart & Doolittle, (C. Alonzo Hart and Frederick C. Doolittle,) general merchants, successors to White, Doolittle & Co., who established the business in July, 1877; Arthur B. Coats, grocer, bought out Doolittle & Daniels April 3, 1877; and Henry and William H. Allfrey, druggists and grocers, who bought the Church Bros’. stock June 1, 1877.